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Antioxidants Do Not Prevent Postexercise Peroxidation and May Delay Muscle Recovery


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: September 2009 - Volume 41 - Issue 9 - p 1752-1760
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31819fe8e3
Basic Sciences

Purpose: This study aimed to determine the effects of 4 wk of antioxidants (AOX) supplementation on exercise-induced lipid peroxidation, muscle damage, and inflammation in kayakers.

Methods: Subjects (n = 20) were randomly assigned to receive a placebo (PLA) or an AOX capsule (AOX; 272 mg of α-tocopherol, 400 mg of vitamin C, 30 mg of β-carotene, 2 mg of lutein, 400 μg of selenium, 30 mg of zinc, and 600 mg of magnesium). Blood samples were collected at rest and 15 min after a 1000-m kayak race, both before and after the supplementation period, for analysis of α-tocopherol, α-carotene, β-carotene, lycopene, lutein plus zeaxanthin, vitamin C, uric acid, total AOX status (TAS), thiobarbituric reactive acid substances (TBARS) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels, and creatine kinase (CK), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione reductase (Gr), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activities.

Results: With supplementation, plasma α-tocopherol (P = 0.003) and β-carotene (P = 0.007) augmented significantly in the AOX group. IL-6 (exercise, P = 0.039), TBARS (exercise, P < 0.001), and uric acid (exercise, P = 0.032) increased significantly in response to the exercise regardless of treatment group. Cortisol level raised more from pre- to postsupplementation period in the PLA group (time × supplementation, P = 0.002). Although TAS declined after exercise before intervention, it increased above preexercise values after the 4-wk period in the AOX group (supplementation × time × exercise, P = 0.034). CK increased after exercise in both groups (exercise effect, P < 0.001) and decreased from week 0 to week 4 more markedly in the PLA group (supplementation × time, P = 0.049).

Conclusions: AOX supplementation does not offer protection against exercise-induced lipid peroxidation and inflammation and may hinder the recovery of muscle damage.

1Faculty of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Porto, Porto, PORTUGAL; 2Research Centre in Physical Activity, Health and Leisure, University of Porto, Porto, PORTUGAL; 3REQUIMTE, Bromatology Service, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto, Porto, PORTUGAL; 4Department of Clinical Analysis, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto, Porto, PORTUGAL; and 5Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology, IBMC, University of Porto, Porto, PORTUGAL

Address for correspondence: Vitor Teixeira, Ph.D., Faculdade de Ciências da Nutrição e Alimentação da Universidade do Porto, Rua Dr. Roberto Frias, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal; E-mail:

Submitted for publication September 2008.

Accepted for publication February 2009.

©2009The American College of Sports Medicine